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News from the 2014-15 School Year
60th Annual State Science and Engineering Fair

Monroe County School District entered seven students into the 60th Annual State Science and Engineering Fair held in Lakeland, FL on March 31 - April 2, 2015. All Monroe students met the rigorous requirements to qualify for participation in the state competition. Our students performed well for MCSD's second time appearance in the competition, with 3 of the 7 students receiving awards and recognitions in the competition.
Senior Competition
Isaiah Green
Key West Collegiate Academy
Electricity: Monitoring More with Less
Kyris Matula
​Key West Collegiate Academy
Reef Shield
Andie Devitt
Marathon High School
Decay
Junior Competition
Grade Matthews
Plantation Key School
Bubble Life
Nathan Barroso
​Horace O'Bryant School
Swimming in Acid: The Effects of Ocean Acidification $25 Cash, Pasco Regional Science Fair
Recognition Award: Environmental Science
Atlantis Hofstetter
Treasure Village Montessori
Plastic Tides Third Place Finish: Environmental Science
Sophie Williams
Treasure Village Montessori
The Algal Bloom Advantage $100 Cash, Florida Museum of Natural History
Recognition Award: Botany
Pictured, Front Row (from left): Nathan Barroso, Atlantis Hoffstetter, Grace Matthews, Sophie Williams
Back Row: Kyris Matula, Andie Devitt, Isaiah Green

Photo courtesy of Sarah Maschal


PKS Second Graders "Make" the News!
Plantation Key School second grade students were chosen to participate in the Jr. Editor-in-Chief Program for News-O-Matic, a nationwide children's newspaper. News-O-Matic is an app from Press4Kids that publishes five current event news stories every weekday ranging in topic and containing interactive features such as maps, videos, photos, quizzes, and a read to me option. This daily newspaper reaches over 100,000 student readers around the world and is a way for children to understand the news and explore the world.
The second graders of Mrs. Milchman and Mrs. Harrelson used Skype to assist Russell Kahn, the Editor-in-Chief at Press4Kids in New York. They helped choose relevant stories, asked questions to be answered in various articles, and voted on wacky news. All of the stories were published the very next day in the April 3 edition of News-O-Matic. The students loved this real life experience and enjoyed reading "their news" with News-O-Matic.

Microsoft Office Certified
Chase Alsobrooks-Floyd is the first student in the 2014-2015 school year to certify as a Microsoft Office Specialist in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Chase is a 7th grader in Jennifer Falconer's class at Horace O'Bryant School. Chase was determined to become a Microsoft Office Specialist and routinely asked Mrs. Falconer when he could test because he wanted to be the first. His dedication had him coming to the Adult Education Center to test for his Word certification on a Saturday morning in January. He completed his 50 minute Excel and PowerPoint certification exams with at least 15 minutes to spare! Chase is very knowledgeable with this IT content and willingly helps his classmates as they work through the Microsoft applications. Chase’s determination, dedication and drive are inspiring. Congratulations to Chase Alsobrooks-Floyd for attaining Microsoft Office Specialist certification.

Congraulations to KWHS Singers!
On Tuesday, March 3rd, the Key West High School Chorus participated in the District 16 Chorus MPA (Music Performance Assessment) at Dr. Michael Krop High School in Miami. The Conchs again swept the ratings as the Conch Singers (mixed). The VIP's (Men’s) and the Mistys (women's) all were awarded straight superior ratings, garnering 35 "A's" and one "B+" out of the possible 36 scores. Key West High has averaged 3 Superior choruses for the past eight years, putting the program in the top 1% of the State of Florida.
KLS Band Excels!

The Key Largo School Advanced Band students earned top honors with five superiors at Florida Bandmaster Association Music Performance Assessment last Saturday. Three on-stage pieces (listening links below), sightreading and student conductor, Cara Erickson. #amazinglytalentedstudents!
Reflex Contest Winners

News from Horace O'Bryant School
Breaking News: The Cat in the Hat, along with Thing 1 and Thing 2, entered the Horace O'Bryant School cafeteria on Monday, March 2nd. Fortunately, they were not there to cause any trouble! They assured Mr. Henriquez, HOB Principal, that they were simply stopping by to get the students excited for the Seuss Birthday Celebration. Many teachers and students wore shirts or accessories that honored Dr. Seuss. Students throughout the elementary building and Media Center enjoyed reading, doing Seuss-related activities and exploring www.seussville.com. For example, all kindergarten and first grade students designed hats and participated in writing activities. We even heard that the students in Ms. Anderson's class made some "Seuss Soup" complete with truffula seeds, "hop on pop"corn, and, of course, one fish, two fish.

Student Lifesavers
Key West High School is excited to share that there are now have 27 new lifesavers on campus! Members of Mr. Jimmy Forbus' Health Career classes have studied, practiced and prepared for the CPR test and thanks to Brynn Morey and Keith Harris of FL Keys AHEC, they had the opportunity to officially test for the certification. Twenty-seven students passed and are now officially CPR certified. "It was fantastic to watch these kids in action," said Mr. Forbus. "Hopefully, they will never have to use it but I’m confident in their ability to make a difference should the need arise."

Sunshine State Scholar
Congratulations to Seth Landry, Monroe County School District's Sunshine State Scholar!

Marathon High School junior Seth Landry was recognized as one of Florida's top STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) 11th graders. He selected Marathon HS teacher Carrollyn Cox to accompany him as he attended the awards event in Orlando and was introduced to an array of postsecondary opportunities in Florida.









District Academic Challenge Results
Congratulations to the Marathon High School Academic Challenge Team who, for the second year in a row, was recognized as the first place winners in the Monroe County School District Championship held on Tuesday, January 27th at Marathon HS. Key West High School received 2nd place and Coral Shores High School 3rd place. Marathon High School will represent Monroe County in the Commissioner's Academic Challenge in Orlando in April. Many thanks to the coaches and judges who assisted in the competition.

Pictured, left to right: Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Theresa Axford, MHS Team Members John Galjanic, Reef Landrum, Sharon Rodriguez, Seth Landry, Collin Marrs, Janie Guo, Coach Lyn Cox, Superintendent Mark Porter
Superintendent Porter Celebrates Literacy!
On Thursday, January 30th, Superintendent Mark Porter read to 5th grade students from Stanley Switlik Elementary for the Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida initiative. The students truly enjoyed this opportunity to discuss the importance of literacy as well as listen to one of their favorite stories.


District Academic Challenge Results
Congratulations to the Marathon High School Academic Challenge Team who, for the second year in a row, was recognized as the first place winners in the Monroe County School District Championship held on Tuesday, January 27th at Marathon HS. Key West High School received 2nd place and Coral Shores High School 3rd place. Marathon High School will represent Monroe County in the Commissioner's Academic Challenge in Orlando in April. Many thanks to the coaches and judges who assisted in the competition.

Pictured, left to right: Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Theresa Axford, MHS Team Members John Galjanic, Reef Landrum, Sharon Rodriguez, Seth Landry, Collin Marrs, Janie Guo, Coach Lyn Cox, Superintendent Mark Porter
Mock Trial District Competition
The Coral Shores mock trial team will be advancing to the state finals in Orlando after winning the district competition Wednesday afternoon in Marathon. The team is coached by Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Raiche.

Pictured, back row from left to right: Superintendent Mark Porter, Danielle Christmas, Cooper Hoag, Sam Kraus, Albert Comeforo, Phillip Atkin, Coach Mary Jo Fry. Front row left to right: Sacha Franks, Dominic Cianciolo, Alicia Ornelas-Perez, Rachael Britton

Photo courtesy of Mary Jo Fry
Mock Trial District Competition
The Coral Shores mock trial team will be advancing to the state finals in Orlando after winning the district competition Wednesday afternoon in Marathon. The team is coached by Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Raiche.

Pictured, back row from left to right: Superintendent Mark Porter, Danielle Christmas, Cooper Hoag, Sam Kraus, Albert Comeforo, Phillip Atkin, Coach Mary Jo Fry. Front row left to right: Sacha Franks, Dominic Cianciolo, Alicia Ornelas-Perez, Rachael Britton

Photo courtesy of Mary Jo Fry
KeysSchools Technology Expo 2015
On Saturday, January 31st, nearly 100 school district teachers and staff met at Marathon High School for the 3rd Annual KeysSchools Technology Expo. "The enthusiasm of those in attendance was contagious," said Monroe County Schools Superintendent Mark Porter. "Whether it was learning from students how they use iPads in their classroom, hearing from an Apple Distinguished Educator, learning about across-curriculum STEM efforts by a 4th grade team of teachers, completing a hands-on science experiment or trying to fly drones using a simulator (or the real thing), everyone was learning something new!"
Thanks to all who participated in the Expo, either by presenting, providing support, or attending! A special thanks to Mrs. Albury's students who showed teachers and administrators how they are using iPads in their "paperless classroom." KWHS teacher Ed Smith created a video of those who were still around at the end of the Expo using the drone camera - CLICK HERE.


News from TSiC
On January 27th the City of Marathon City Council proclaimed the month of January, 2015 National Mentoring Month. Take Stock in Children college success coach Katrina Wiatt and program coordinator Chuck Licis were on hand to accept the proclamation along with several students, mentors, and parents. Currently, sixty-two volunteer mentors meet each week for at least thirty minutes with their Take Stock in Children scholar attending Marathon Middle High School.






Science and Engineering Fair Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2nd Annual Monroe Regional Science and Engineering Fair, held on January 24th, 2015 at Stanley Switlik Elementary School.
Junior Division Results
Junior Team Competition:
1st place: Emmeline Hamilton/Paige Moore (Key West Montessori)
2nd place: Shelby Porter/Brittney Gortva (Plantation Key School)
3rd place: Francesca Carbone/Isabella Braswell (Key West Montessori)
Honorable Mention: Julian Annarumma/Reese Lewis (Sugarloaf)

Junior Individual Competition Category Winners:
Behavioral and Social Sciences
1st Place: Ashley Day (Key Largo School)

Botany
1st Place: Sophie Williams (Treasure Village Montessori)
2nd Place: Lauren Settoon (Plantation Key School)
3rd Place: Hunter Oropeza (Horace O’Bryant)

Chemistry
1st Place: Grace Matthews (Plantation Key School)
2nd Place: Zoe Norman (Key West Montessori)
2nd Place: Ryan Kutros (Marathon Middle School)
3rd Place: Talin Royal (Sugarloaf)
Honorable Mention: Ali Woltanski (Plantation Key School), Jemma North (Sugarloaf)

Earth and Planetary Science
1st Place: Katerina Nikiforova (Marathon Middle School)

Engineering
1st Place: Chloe Hartle (Key West Montessori)

Environmental Science
1st Place: Atlantis Hofstetter (Treasure Village Montessori)
2nd Place: Nathan Barroso (Horace O’Bryant)
3rd Place: Emma Kost (Treasure Village Montessori)
Honorable Mention: Kaimen Meyer (Sugarloaf), Ryleigh Zebendon (Treasure Village Montessori)

Mathematics
1st Place: Abel Bartosek-Hillberg (Horace O’Bryant)

Physics and Astronomy
1st Place Taurean Perkins (Horace O’Bryant)
2nd Place: Megan Ralfe (Key West Montessori)

Zoology
1st Place: Wyatt Hunt (Sugarloaf)


Junior Division Overall Top 4 (representing Monroe County at State)
1st Place: Sophie Williams (Treasure Village Montessori)
2nd Place: Atlantis Hofstetter (Treasure Village Montessori)
3rd Place: Grace Matthews (Plantation Key School)
Honorable Mention: Nathan Barroso (Horace O’Bryant)

Senior Division Results
Team Competition:
1st Place: Damian Jones and Nathan Bernard (Key West Collegiate)
2nd Place: Maggie Gragg and Khanh Nguyen (Key West High School)
3rd Place: Carlie Mehan, Micaela Coger, and Hannah Gracy (Marathon High School)
Honorable Mention: Shane Smith and Jack Cook (Key West High School)

Individual Competition Category Winners:
Botany
1st Place: George Guerra (Coral Shores High School)
2nd Place: Colt McGee (Coral Shores High School)

Chemistry
1st Place: Victoria Nyman (Coral Shores High School)
2nd Place: Sara Smith (Key West High School)
3rd Place: Rukhsora Oblokulova (Key West High School)

Engineering
1st Place: Isaiah Green (Key West Collegiate)
2nd Place: Kyris Matula (Key West Collegiate)

Environmental Science
1st Place: Noah Hane (Coral Shores High School)
2nd Place: Chynna Eckard (Key West Collegiate)

Medicine and Health
1st Place: Andie Devitt (Marathon High School)

Microbiology
1st Place: Hannah Child (Marathon High School)
2nd Place: Kailey Seiler (Coral Shores High School)

Physics and Astronomy
1st Place: Tyler Knight (Key West High School)

Senior Division Overall Top 4 (Representing Monroe County at State)
1st Place: Isaiah Green (Key West Collegiate)
2nd Place: Hannah Child (Marathon High School)
3rd Place: Andie Devitt (Marathon High School
Honorable Mention: Kailey Seiler (Coral Shores High School)
Thank You, Monroe County Voters!

THANK YOU to the voters of Monroe County who overwhelmingly approved an extension of the ½ cent sales tax for capital improvements. Your support is greatly appreciated by our students and by our staff. I can assure you that your trust in our ability to properly invest these resources as promised; to enhance and improve our buildings, to assure safety and security for students and staff, and to deploy student technology in a way that improves student learning, will be kept, measured and well communicated. Again, thank you on behalf of our students and our staff.
~Superintendent of Schools Mark T. Porter
Sugarloaf School Family Reading Night

Families joined together at Sugarloaf school on the evening of Friday, December
12th to celebrate the holidays with a Family Reading night. They also participated in craft projects relating to reading.




















ExxonMobil Grant Recipients
The ExxonMobil Education Alliance Program awarded $1,500 in grants to three Lower Keys schools. Gerald Adams Elementary, Key West High, and Poinciana Elementary each received a $500 grant from ExxonMobil. Dion Oil representatives Gilda Niles and Kristie Hernandez presented the grants to the recipients during a presentation at the Dion Oil Company Office on December 9, 2014. The grants will be used to help support and enhance programs with emphasis on math and science in the schools.

ExxonMobil Education Alliance grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Gilda Niles of Dion Oil works with ExxonMobil to secure the Education Alliance Grants for schools through the company’s marketing area. This year ExxonMobil awarded four thousand $500 grants to schools throughout the country for a total of $2 million.

This program is designed to provide Exxon and Mobil Retailers, as well as distributors like Dion Oil Company, with an opportunity to invest in the future of their communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools. ExxonMobil believes that, as members of the community, local retailers and distributors are best qualified to work with local educators to help identify schools and programs most in need of support. ExxonMobil is pleased to fund this very important program at a time when budgets for our schools do not always provide for some of the most critical needs.
Lower Keys Students at the South Florida Symphony Concert
Lower Keys elementary students enjoyed the South Florida Symphony Concert on December 4th at the Key West High School Auditorium. Before the concert began, musicians walked through the KWHS auditorium greeting students by playing their instruments and answering students' questions. In preparation for the concert, musicians Donna Wissinger and Joy Myers visited with over 3000 students in their schools to share with them the stories behind the music, the composers and the melodies that would be played during the concert. The students were thrilled with the wonderful music and showed their enthusiasm with much applause and great attention throughout the performance.

The Symphony program is sponsored through a partnership with the South Florida Symphony, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and Monroe County Schools. A warm thank you goes to Maestra Sebrina Maria Alphonso, Music Director of the South Florida Symphony and the Symphony musicians. Special thanks also to Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Liz Young, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and Jacqueline Lorber, Executive Director of the South Florida Symphony who coordinated the event. And a standing ovation goes to Randy Fabal, Director of Transportation and all the bus drivers who brought the students to the concert.
KWHS Student Selected for Florida Youth Commission
Morgan Denhart, a senior at Key West High School, is currently serving on the Florida Youth Commission, a group of statewide youth leaders who work with the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. Morgan's distinguished selection was based on leadership and achievement. She participates in monthly conference calls on topics related to youth and academic achievement of students. Morgan is pictured with Zackary Gibson, Chief Child Advocate and Director with the Governor’s Office, and KWHS Principal Amber Bosco.
District Sunshine State Scholar
Superintendent of Schools Mark T. Porter has announced that Seth Landry from Marathon High School will represent the Monroe County School District at the Sunshine State Scholars Program in February 2015. Each year the local high schools nominate a junior who is distinguished in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to be their representative as the District Sunshine State Scholar. One outstanding student represents each high school, and the three nominees were Natalia Gonzalez from Coral Shores High School, Kevin Coward from Key West High School, and Seth Landry from Marathon High School.


From the three outstanding students, this year’s committee has selected Seth Landry from Marathon High School as the 2014-2015 Monroe County Sunshine State Scholar. Seth Landry currently has a 4.52 weighted GPA. “Research is what I wish to pursue, because everything begins with research in order to find the problems and their solutions,” stated Landry. “There are so many unanswered mysteries, and as progress moves forward, even more appear. I want to be able to understand them, know where they are and what they do, and apply it all towards new discoveries so I can solve these problems.”

Superintendent Mark Porter commented, “Seth Landry is a truly exemplary representative of the Monroe County Schools in the Sunshine State Scholar program. Seth’s accomplishments at Marathon High School and throughout his career are a tribute to his ability and work ethic, and a tribute to his supportive parents and teachers as well. We are proud of Seth Landry and his accomplishments. Congratulations!”

The District scholar, parents, and a teacher who has had a significant influence will be invited to travel to Orlando for a two-day program. (Click here for additional information)
Congratulations to all three students who also will be recognized for their outstanding achievement at a School Board Meeting held in their area.

Sunshine State Scholar
Superintendent of Schools Mark T. Porter has announced that Seth Landry from Marathon High School will represent the Monroe County School District at the Sunshine State Scholars Program in February 2015. Each year the local high schools nominate a junior who is distinguished in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to be their representative as the District Sunshine State Scholar. One outstanding student represents each high school, and the three nominees were Natalia Gonzalez from Coral Shores High School, Kevin Coward from Key West High School, and Seth Landry from Marathon High School.
From the three outstanding students, this year’s committee has selected Seth Landry from Marathon High School as the 2014-2015 Monroe County Sunshine State Scholar. Seth Landry currently has a 4.52 weighted GPA. “Research is what I wish to pursue, because everything begins with research in order to find the problems and their solutions,” stated Landry. “There are so many unanswered mysteries, and as progress moves forward, even more appear. I want to be able to understand them, know where they are and what they do, and apply it all towards new discoveries so I can solve these problems.”

Superintendent Mark Porter commented, “Seth Landry is a truly exemplary representative of the Monroe County Schools in the Sunshine State Scholar program. Seth’s accomplishments at Marathon High School and throughout his career are a tribute to his ability and work ethic, and a tribute to his supportive parents and teachers as well. We are proud of Seth Landry and his accomplishments. Congratulations!”

The District scholar, parents, and a teacher who has had a significant influence will be invited to travel to Orlando for a two-day program. (Click here for additional information)

Congratulations to all three students who also will be recognized for their outstanding achievement at a School Board Meeting held in their area.
Key West High Represented in Thanksgiving Day Parade
Five Key West High School Conchettes performed in the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Having attended the Marching Auxiliaries Summer Dance program at the University of Florida, Tristin Blackwell, Daniela Pena, Marina Perez, Morgan Pierce, and Talia Santiago were selected by their instructors to receive an invitation to perform with the Spirit of America Dance Productions in this year’s Macy's Parade on November 27th. This is the first time in its 59 year history that the Conchettes were represented in this illustrious parade.
Horace O'Bryant Students Celebrate the Constitution
Each year on September 17th, people around the country recite the Preamble to the Constitution to celebrate Constitution Day. Pictured are 8th grade HOB teacher Eric P. Nelson dressed as the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, and 5th grade HOB teacher Amanda Gambill, along with fifth grade students C. Berube-Gray and E. Gallo-Tumm, and eighth-graders M. Atwell, D. Rivera and F. Gartenmeyer.
Take Stock in Children Earns Program Excellence Award

For the second year in a row, the Take Stock in Children program of Monroe County has earned a program excellence award for its outstanding mentor and college success coach services. "This would not have been possible without the dedication of our devoted volunteer mentors and our wonderful college success coaches who go above and beyond." said program coordinator Chuck Licis.
Take Stock in Children is the flagship program of the Monroe County Education Foundation (MCEF). "Obviously, I'm thrilled and the board is delighted that we’ve been able to continue to win this award," said Steve Pribramsky, president of the MCEF. "We don't actually put a lot of emphasis on winning the award. Instead, we try to spend as much time as possible focusing on creating a better program year after year."

Twenty-one Take Stock programs in Florida were recognized for their achievements last year. "We are proud to be in the top third of successful programs in the state. We are looking to build on our successes and continue to work with our college bound students to earn a degree, certificate, or other credentials." Licis reiterated.
"This year, we hope to offer a TSIC college scholarship opportunity to at least forty new students in the county," Licis continued, "but we need mentors. We must have a mentor for each student we enroll." The MCEF encourages community members throughout the Keys to consider becoming a mentor for a Take Stock in Children scholar.

For more information about mentoring or the TSIC program, call 305-293-1546 or send an email to chuck.licis@keysschools.com.

Konrath Selected for FHSAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee
Marathon High School junior Sydney Konrath has been selected to sit on the state-level FHSAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee for the next two years. She is one of four students representing Section 4 on the 16-member panel . The purpose of the advisory committee is to provide a voice for student-athletes within the FHSAA governance structure, in the following areas:

• Current issues facing student-athletes
• Input regarding rules and regulations
• Input on FHSAA special initiatives (e.g., sportsmanship campaign)
• Promotion of a positive image of the student-athlete

For more information about the Florida High School Athletic Association, visit www.fhsaa.org.
Key Largo School Celebrates International Literacy Day
Key Largo School celebrated International Literacy Day on September 8, and classes participated in Literacy Activities throughout the day. Sixth grade AVID students performed in a kick off video, and Middle School Elite Band students wrapped it up by reading stories, accompanied by music, to the elementary students. Banners and signs were created by Middle School Art Students. Thanks to all at KLS for making International Literacy Day a success!
Learn Here / Work Anywhere
John Padget and Jacob Dekker today pledged financial support of $100,000 for MONROE COMPUTE$, a $400,000 initiative to create a “computing platform” of courses and certificates in Monroe County. Grants are available immediately---but must be claimed before June 30, 2015---from the Kura Hulanda Foundation, a private foundation supported by Padget and Dekker.

Grants will be made directly to all Monroe County students who successfully earn credentials in computer science during the 2014-15 school year. “We expect at least 350 middle-, high-school, and college students to qualify,” according to Padget, Vice-Chair of Florida’s State Board of Education, and former Monroe County Superintendent of Schools. “The schools and the college will benefit, with matching performance-based funding of over $300,000 from the State of Florida.”

“Monroe County Schools are on the move,” said Padget. “This year they are offering courses enabling students to earn the Microsoft certificate MICRO069, and become a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). This grant will reward each of the first 50 students to get their certificate with a check for $500. The next 50 will receive $400 each, then 50 at $300 each, 50 at $200 each, and 50 at $100 each. We’re looking to write checks totaling $75,000 to 250 middle- and high-school students, as soon as they pass the test.”

For further information, contact: Melanie.Stefanowicz@KeysSchools.com
Prior Years' News
Click Here to view news articles from 2013-14.

Click Here to view news articles from prior years.

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